A former BBC producer at the centre of sex abuse allegations has condemned officers' "spurious" and "over-zealous" approach to the Operation Yewtree inquiry.

Wilfred De'Ath, who is in his 70s, was arrested by Yewtree detectives late last year over allegations of indecent assault on a girl during the 1960s. However the charges have now been dropped after the complainant withdrew her statement.

Speaking after the charges were dropped, De'Ath told the BBC he remained "very bitter" about his arrest, and claimed detectives working on the Operation Yewtree inquiry are over-compensating for the "lamentable failure" to catch Savile during his lifetime.

Speaking to the Today programme, De'Ath said: "I do realise they [the officers] were only doing their job but it seemed to me they were over-zealous and it seems to me they have been over-zealous in what they have been doing ever since.

"They failed lamentably in the case of Jimmy Savile to get him when they could have got him and now it seems they have gone too far the other way and are arresting people on rather spurious allegations.

"My general comment would be that Operation Yewtree has gone too far, as Jim Davidson said it's getting silly now and I don't like the Director of Public Prosecutions boasting that there will be many more high-profile arrests in the next few weeks."

'Womanising is not a criminal offence'

Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, has been described as one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders and was able to commit hundreds of acts of abuse for decades without detection or punishment.

However De'Ath said that the differences in "culture" between the 1960s and the present day should be taken into account. He added: "There wasn't the sensitivity about womanising or paedophilia, whatever you want to call it, that there is now...but as far as I know womanising is not a criminal offence.

"None of the girls I ever slept with were under age but you'd proposition maybe 100 women on the chance maybe two or three of them would say yes. Now that would be regarded as a shocking statement but that's what it was like in the 50s and 60s."

'Insufficient evidence for conviction'

Explaining the decision to drop charges against De'Ath, Alison Saunders, of the CPS, said: "In this case the complainant made a withdrawal statement, which maintained that the allegations were true, but in which she said that she had made a statement to lend support to any other complainants who might come forward in relation to the same suspect. The complainant said that as she would be the only complainant to give evidence if the matter went to trial, she did not want to pursue it.

"We looked at the possibilities of bringing a prosecution without the evidence of this complainant, but have concluded that there would be insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction."

De'Ath is the first suspect the Crown prosecution Service has made a decision on since the arrests under Operation Yewtree began last October.

Other big names already arrested under Yewtree include publicist Max Clifford, comedian Freddie Starr and former pop star Gary Glitter.